B&Q and Homebase buyers flocked to the reopened stores today as the British started venturing during the foreclosure.
Hardware stores were labeled “essential” during the coronavirus crisis, with B&Q reopening half of its stores across the UK.
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And buyers today put on protective gear, including face masks and gloves, as they headed to hardware stores over the weekend.
Long queues of socially distancing people were seen outside of B&Q in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, while DIY enthusiasts headed to another store in Cricklewood in north London.
Some were seen buying plants and other supplies while others saw spas at home.
B&Q limits the number of customers in the stores at all times and has installed cash register screens and floor markers to help social distancing.
Matt Hancock announced this week that businesses that had reopened after the coronavirus crisis ended have “never been forced” to close.
The health secretary welcomed the companies’ decision to bring people back to work as the British grew tired of the closure.
Appearing on Sky News, Hancock said companies were never required to close – as long as they could operate with adequate social distancing.
He said, “The things that restart are things that we never had to close in the first place, but what the companies have done is determine how they can have a safe job by following the rules of social distancing while people are at work.
“All this time we have allowed the hardware stores to stay open, as well as the construction industry, but what the companies have done is take the last two weeks to determine” ok, how to stay open and respect the rules of social distancing at work ”?
“So it’s perfectly acceptable for these companies to stay open because they have never been forced to close by social distancing rules. “
Government officials are still trying to determine how such a system would work as plans begin to be developed on how to facilitate the foreclosure.
Images have emerged this week of an increasing number of people heading outside, with road traffic up 10%.
Britain entered the coronavirus lockdown on March 24 and some European countries are starting to relax the measures.
But authorities have warned that some of the restrictions are likely to remain in place for much of the year.
Chief physician Chris Whitty warned that the only “exit” from the lockdown would be a vaccine or medication to treat the coronavirus.
Initially, B&Q had offered an online service only to help protect staff and customers, which meant that buyers could only choose between home delivery and click and collect.
However, after following the social distancing measures of the other stores, the hardware chain first reopened 14 branches on the weekend of April 18/19.
Another 61 branches reopened on April 22 and another 80 stores opened on April 23.
This brings the total number of B&Q stores open to 155 – you can find the list of branches open here.
These stores are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., although hours may vary by branch.
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For click and collect options, B&Q has opened secure spaces outside of closed stores for the public to retrieve their items.
This comes after B&Q workers expressed anger at being forced to “risk their health so that customers could buy garden furniture.”
Graham Bell, General Manager of B&Q, said, “We encourage customers to follow all government guidelines for social distancing and to buy responsibly only for basic needs.
“The safety of our customers and colleagues remains our top priority. “
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In addition, John Lewis has closed all of its 50 stores.
While Ikea has also closed its stores in the UK due to the virus epidemic.
And McDonald’s has closed 1,350 restaurants in the UK and Ireland.
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